The Office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) has dismissed suggestions in some newspapers that the Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, met with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike during one of the governor’s visits to the office of the CJN earlier this month.
“We wish to state with all emphasis that the CJN at no time had an audience with Governor Wike,” Ahuraka Yusuf Isah, Media Aide To the Chief Justice, said in a statement on Monday. “This includes before, on and after the said date.”
He noted that during the week of the purported first visit by the Governor Wike on 06 July, the CJN was away in Saudi Arabia performing Umrah.
Similarly, on 8 July, the date of the alleged second visit, the CJN was in court observing the interview of shortlisted applicants for the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he said.
“A senior official in the CJN chamber intercepted Governor Wike and advised that it is a policy of the CJN not to entertain visits of politicians especially those with cases in the courts,” Isah said. “Consequently, Governor Wike left at that point, even though he tried to state reasons for his visit which included the issue of the appointment of substantive Chief Judge for his state and to thank the CJN for sending the Bayelsa state Chief Judge to swear him into the office.”
He added that the CJN was not even aware of the governor’s visit until the next morning.
“I wish to assure the good people of Rivers State and Nigeria that the CJN and indeed the entire Office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is veritably committed to upholding the integrity, neutrality and independence of our Judiciary,” Isah said. “This is a responsibility, which we hold dear and will not shirk.”